Customer Reviews of I Am Not Myself These Days
Fantastic book. Excellent narrative that manages to cover some themes and topics that aren't necessarily well-documented (the 90's, drag queen culture, NY scene) while covering themes and topics that are universal (the dynamics of loving people who are bad for you, doing things that are bad for you, being things that are bad for you).
Sink or swim is what happens to people in NYC, and Josh Kilmer-Purcell describes this phenomenon perfectly in his book. People either make it in New York, or they have to leave it to survive. The book takes us back to the hedonic 90s where licentiousness and inebriation were de rigeur and drag queens ruled the night, but that is the backdrop for the story of book, which is really the story between Josh and Jack. Anyone who has been in a relationship with the "wrong" person even though it feels so "right" will understand the ups and downs that Jack and Josh experience in their brief but bright relationship. Aqua becomes the symbolic fish that has to sink or swim in the story. Swimming means survival, as she deals with the eventual loss of the one person that has shown her true love and gave her a feeling of safety and security, even though he is a high end male escort who happens to be addicted to smoking crack. Though the downward spiral is eventual, one keeps hoping that it will work out for these two, because they really love each other.
Though written as a memoir, it's a love story that deals with survival and ultimately growing up. I couldn't put it down, and it is a must read!
Not since Joan of Arc has a gal with bad hair been so inspiring!
I thought this was a lovely, inspiring story of a charming, perspicacious Christian gal from a small town finally turning her too-high heels and rebuking the demons that multiply like methhead rabbits in the godless town of New York. To paraphrase the unsaved Dorothy Parker, it is rather unfortunate to be known as the town whore -- especially in Manhattan. Nevertheless, though her abject repentance on bended knee before her Personal Savior was, to say the least, rather metaphoric, this sweet sparrow of the Lord rose like a Phoenix from a Soho coffee table bong. To be alarmingly candid, I'm not sure what a drag queen is, but I imagine that it has something to do with Catholicism.
Not your basic "Bright Lights, Big Titt*es"
On the surface, "I Am Not Myself These Days" appears to be a tale of the drag underworld - and indeed, it doesn't fail to entertain with some hilarious and lurid details. But scratch the MAC foundation just a bit and I found a wonderfully written novel exploring much more universal themes - love, self destruction, self-destructive love and the search for comfort in your own skin. I absolutely loved it.
"I'm a drag queen. I'm a celebrity trapped inside a normal person's body."
It's New York city in the mid-1990s and our author is an advertising agent by day and a wild drag queen with fish-filled breasts at night. He performs nightly as his Aquadisiac alter-ego, staying out until the wee hours of the morning fueled by vodka, and crams in work the next day before starting all over again. Fortunately, no one can smell the vodka coming out of his pores. Much of his time is spent reconstructing the night before, figuring out where he is waking up, and trying to remember who he talked to and what he did the night before. His advertising campaigns come in brilliant bursts of last-minute energy.
Then comes Jack, the gay male escort who sweeps Josh's life into a semblance of order. Jack loves Aqua and Josh loves Jack. Mid-way through the book, the reader will realize that all the over-the-top orgies, Jack's S & M clients, the drug use, and the rampant alcohol abuse are just fluff around a true love story. Sure, it's titillating to get a glimpse inside alternate lifestyles, but this is truly the story of two misfits who complete eachother. This is a book that will teach you how a drag queen hides his private parts (an entire chapter is devoted to the deconstruction of the male and invention of the female persona), give you every detail about the process of preparing crack in a NY penthouse kitchen, show you the true friendship that develops between Josh and one of Jack's CEO clients who spends weekends tied up on the penthouse floor, and crush your heart with the agony of loving someone who is addicted to drugs. Josh, with his 10-plus vodka-a-day habit, seems like the messed up one in the beginning, but it is Jack who succumbs to addiction, leaving Josh to helplessly look on.
So we have sex, drugs, and club music, mixed up with a love story that got me in the gut by the end of the book...what more could you need? Josh tops this all off with a hilarious and over-the-top narrative voice. When depressed, he fantasizes about being in a Lifetime movie, so he drinks vodka in bed and walks around the apartment alone making declarations about a marriage, mortgage, or the kids. When he lies for a co-worker, he changes his story half a dozen times to make it more "realistic," nevermind that the facts are completely different. He's not an alcoholic, he's a social catalyst, someone who gets paid to illustrate the chemical process of drinking to other partygoers. When he wakes up to a crack-high Jack standing over him with a knife, Josh complains that he just got the expensive knife for Christmas. Jack changes his mind about the murder-suicide he had planned, and Josh goes back to sleep, reminding him to put the knife back in the rack so it doesn't rust.
As over-the-top as this narrative is, it is in no way implausible (I need to make this statement because James Frey wrote a cover blurb). The story of Jack's present to Josh for his first New York Christmas will touch even the most hardened reader. Truly, this book is Josh's tribute to a man he loved for one unforgettable year in New York city. If you enjoy this, try the darker tale of Ron Nyswaner`s love for a male escort in the book Blue Days, Black Nights.